We begin tonight with a Troubleshooters Special Report.
We’re calling it Tax…Title…and License…because we keep getting phone calls and emails from many of you, claiming you bought a vehicle from a local dealership, yet months later, you’re still waiting on your license plates.
State law requires the dealership get your license plates to you within 30 days from date of purchase.
But due to the number of complaints against one local dealership, the State Comptrollers office has stepped in, and now that dealership is under investigation.
Miss Vargas told her story to the Troubleshooters last week.
She had a complaint against Corpus Christi Subaru.
She asked that we not show her face, and only mention her by her last name.
Vargas she says she bought a 2014 Mustang from Corpus Christi Subaru in September 2017, but never received her license plates until, she claims, she had to re-apply for them, and only recently received them.
The Troubleshooters have taken this and other complaints we receive, to Subaru General Manager Ronnie Lillard, to get his explanation.
Turns out Vargas’ complaint isn’t the only one. Not by a longshot.
At the request of the Troubleshooters, the Texas DMV provided a list of complaints they’ve received over the last year against the dealership.
All of them read ‘failure to apply for title’ which has to happen in order for you to get your plates.
Many of them also read ‘assigned investigator case.’
This has become such a serious problem, Nueces County Tax Assessor Collector Kevin Kieschnick says he notified the State Comptroller’s office.
"It’s not acceptable, " Kieschnick said. "And it’s the reason you guys are getting so many complaints. And we need that information. And that’s the reason the comptroller went in there. that’s probably why a lot of these people are finally getting their plates."
He showed the stacks of hundreds of title and registration applications, turned in to his office by the dealership, but only ‘after’ Kieschnick urged the comptrollers Criminal Investigation Division to pay a visit to Corpus Christi Subaru a few weeks ago.
Some of these applications, Kieschnick pointed out, go back as far as ten months.
So we asked him "is that illegal ? Is that breaking the law? Well it’s breaking the law because the state says you’re supposed to turn that in within 30 days of date of sale."
And, Kieschnick adds, not only is the dealership holding on to state sales tax funds for an unnecessarily long period of time by not turning the applications in, they’re also putting you at risk.
"That’s people who are at risk of getting pulled over. Those are the people at risk of there not being a record with their vehicle. They’re at risk of being impounded if they get pulled over by a law enforcement officer. There are all kinds of things that can go wrong in this," Kieschnick told the Troubleshooters.
Just last week, on our visit to Corpus Christi Subaru, to speak with Lillard about Vargas’ complaint and the investigation by the comptrollers office, he called police, and told them he didn’t ever want to see us on his property again.
"We’ve had Mr. Liscano here a few times disrupting our business and causing huge problems to our entire company. We can’t have him here at any of our locations ever again. I’d like to issue a No Trespassing for him."
Here’s another reason this is so important.
The Texas Sunset Advisory Commission is an agency that finds ways to cut excess government spending by holding state agencies accountable.
The commission says the state collected nearly ten-billion-dollars in vehicle sales and rental taxes over the last 2 years.
And they’ve recommended to the state legislature that the DMV lacks the resources to investigate title fraud.
You can see the Commission’s entire recommendation to the legislature for the DMV by clicking on my story on our website…kztv10dot com.
As always, whenever you need the help of the Troubleshooters, give us a call at 885-0100.